AAAAARRRRAAAAHHHAAAHHHAAHHH – OHHHOHHOHHHHH GOD!
That’s probably what you thought (and rightly so) when you saw the Legend of Tarzan trailer. After all; the last film in the cinema to star monkeys was The Jungle Book you really have to bring your A-game when showing off CGI and not resorting to pre-alpha footage.
In the world of computer games there has been a recent spate of incidents where games are previewed as graphical powerhouses sparking huge sales numbers upon release. This was quickly followed by equally huge rates of criticism, drop-off rates and even falls in company share prices as the final release saw considerable graphical downgrades.
In the movie world we are potentially seeing the opposite. I couldn’t help but think the Ghostbusters trailer looked pretty ropey as far as CGI goes, the same was true for Tarzan and even Jurassic World so how much does this go to damage a films reputation before it’s even had a chance.
It’s an understandable trail of thought. If a CGI heavy film hasn’t put in their best efforts into the special effects then how much effort are they going to put into the story or the acting or any other aspect of a film?
So what’s the actual film like?
Well, some of the CGI is still a bit ropey but overall the film is a lot better than the trashy trailer suggests because it’s not just an action fest, it’s actually a lot more introspective and quiet and that’s a good thing.
Some of the best moments in the film are where there isn’t any talking such as when Tarzan comes face to face with some lions or when he fights the head of the Gorillas for safe passage through an area of the Jungle.
At these moments we are placed fully in the seat of the spectator left to speculate about what Tarzan is thinking or how he knows what he knows. In a sense we become George Washington Williams (Samuel L Jackson) who has no choice but to follow and obey Tarzan who’s aloofness and conviction is played with ease by Alexander Skarsgård.
The pace of the film is monotonous – but don’t take that as a criticism – it knows exactly where it wants to go and steadily rolls through the storyline to get there. In many ways it has a similar feel to The Revenant or even Apocalypse Now
Tarzan is simply not of the same calibre as those two films because it has too many flaws. Even though Samuel L Jackson’s character is a proxy for the audience it doesn’t make sense that he is able to keep up with Tarzan.
There are also some poor dialogue especially the scene where Margot Robbie is picking out different animals mating calls but more than anything I wish that some of the overarching plot was stripped back to make the film feel even more hostile, isolated and alien than it already is.
From start to finish The Legend of Tarzan is a completely acceptable film and one that is surprisingly better than it’s trailer gives it credit for. It’s not your average Hollywood thrill ride yet it does hold some competent action scenes and if all else fails you can ogle at Jane or Tarzan’s ab muscles. I still have the bruise where my girlfriend’s jaw hit my arm!
The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:
+ The quiet moments
+ Alexander Skarsgård
+ Decent action
– Samuel L Jackson’s character
– Some cringe-worthy dialogue
– Could have leaned harder into a feeling of introspection